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Scary Trend Toward DIY Plastic Surgery

Andrew | November 2, 2017 | Posted in Skin Care

woman with bandages on the face after plastic surgeryThanks to social media and YouTube, the Internet is an easy way to learn about handy DIY projects – everything from removing the white rings on your coffee table to applying false eyelashes. While many of these instructional videos are harmless and helpful, there is a disturbing new trend taking hold on the beauty front. This is not fake news:  people are taking plastic surgery into their own hands instead of consulting a professional. They’re also sharing how-to videos online, often times leading to horrific results.

Avoiding the Knife

Cosmetic surgeons are increasingly seeing a lot of things that people are injecting into themselves that are not legal and should not be put into your body. The obsession with celebrities, combined with unrealistic media standards that make everyone feel bad if they don’t look runway-ready, is leading people to take drastic measures. In most cases, it does not go well.

In one of the worst cases found online, a man performed his own nose job using a chisel and substituted a chicken bone for the removed cartilage. Some people have reportedly sliced open their own stomachs in attempting DIY tummy tucks. Others have tried to glue back their protruding ears. In late 2008, news broke of Hang Mioku, a Korean woman who became so obsessed with plastic surgery that she injected COOKING OIL into her own face.

One Florida woman named Samara responded to an ad in the paper about a contest offering free non-invasive facial rejuvenation and she jumped at it.

“It took me a while to realize something very wrong was going on,” Samara explains.

She reports experiencing bruises, swelling and even near-blindness from the injection around her eyes. Samara’s story is sadly not an exception, according to leading Manhattan plastic surgeon Dr. Thomas Loeb.

It seems more like a story that would appear in the tabloids, but unfortunately it’s true. Experts like Dr. Loeb cite a lack of self-confidence and a rise in BDD (body dysmorphic disorder) that continues to make people long for cosmetic surgery. People are suffering from a lack of funds or credit and are becoming desperate. DIY plastic surgery, as medieval as it sounds, continues to attract followers.

The trend is catching on primarily among teens in Asia, using new devices that make unrealistic claims.

The Newest Facial Widgets

Countries like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan put a premium on appearance, leading citizens to turn to the operating table in order to achieve the slender jawline, double eyelids, and straight nose desired by many. These three Asian nations all made the list in a recent study of the top 10 most plastic-surgery dependent countries in the world.

But these procedures are both expensive and invasive. As an alternative to going under the knife, some people, mostly teens, are now turning to a low-tech, DIY solution: painful-looking products that claim to shape the users’ features into the perceived “ideal” standard of beauty.

Cosmetic surgeons worry such products can harm natural development in adolescents who are going through puberty.

“These kinds of devices usually make false claims that have no basis in scientific fact,” says Dr. Loeb, the New York City plastic surgeon. ”They are a waste of money and time. And more importantly, you can injure yourself, causing infections, permanent scars, or other irreversible facial deformities.”

Here is a quick look at three of the Asian DIY products and the results they claim to achieve.

Face Slimmer

A clown-like mouthpiece claims to do away with your saggy cheeks and tired facial muscles after three minutes a day of use. Insert the silicone lips into your mouth and recite vowel sounds, as per the included instructions, for a “more youthful, vibrant” face. A more hi-tech version called “Facial Lift At Once” vibrates in your mouth to exercise facial muscles.

Nose Lifter

A buzzing, burgundy-colored gadget is inserted into your nostrils and plastic “legs” press into the bottom, sides, and bridge of your nose. The claim is that with only three minutes per day, the vibrations will straighten and/or reshape your nose, giving you a more refined version of the proboscis you currently sport.

Double-Fold Eyelids Gadget

This contraption, similar to eyeglasses, promises to provide the desirable Western double-fold eyelid after five minutes a day of wearing it, an alternative to the increasingly-popular 20-minute eyelid surgery.  You blink, and the device supposedly “trains” your lids into the desired look of depth.

The Price to Be Paid

While the trend towards at-home facial reconfiguration may be a natural occurrence in a proliferating market with increasing costs, medical professionals are beginning to see more and more disfigurement from self-inflicted or “back-alley” procedures by unlicensed individuals.

The moral to the story: contact a board-certified cosmetic surgeon like NYC’s Dr. Loeb before engaging in any procedures that involve injections, dermal fillers, lip augmentation, or realignment of your face. Your body is a temple – so treat it accordingly. 

Additional “DIY Plastic Surgery” Resources:

  1. The Economist, Plastic Makes Perfect,
  2. The Huffington Post Woman’s Botched DIY Plastic Surgery for Butt Injections has Disasterous Results,
  3. The Daily Star, Worst Ever Plastic Surgery Disasters Exposed,
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